Monday, April 6, 2015

TNEE Recap, or the "Let me set records straight" post. Facts and Truth Ahoy.



Ahoy everyone.

I’m home, and trying to get things in order here, it was a hellish flight back and Now I’m here with a cold and possibly the beginnings of con crud. Not fun. But, I wanted to make a statement here, and on the Event page about an incident and drama that happened at the con.

If anyone has any questions about my policies and such for my events, especially TNEE, please refer to this page on the TNEE website: 


Because Imma drop some knowledge on you all, and while some might not want to see it and believe it, It is the truth. Remember, at least 2 sides to EVERY story…

So many know I didn’t allow an author that showed up on Saturday morning in to sign, and many are criticizing me for it. While that’s their prerogative, they obviously do not have all the facts. So lets lay them out.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that dealing with me, and trying to get one over on me when I KNOW you are WRONG gets me extremely pissed off, and I have the tendency to yell. Why? Because people need to follow the CLEARLY LAID OUT RULES, and if they don’t, if they feel they are special, well…

So lets start this shall we?

It is CLEARLY stated on the FB author group in A FILE, as well as on the TICKET PAGE, in the TICKET buying page AND in a WAIVER at the end of the ticket before the author pays, as well as PLAIN AS DAY on the EVENTS POLICIES page that there are specific times everyone needs to be in to register.  You know what, lets post BOTH policies right here:

2. All Authors must be in by Thursday evening at 10 pm and registered. This will ensure that there is ample time for set up Friday. in the event that a flight is delayed or cancelled please let a staff member know.

3. Signing table setup is Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm. Authors MUST be set up and ready for Saturday's signing on Friday by 5pm.

Now, if you look at Policy 1 it states:

1. Failure to comply with any of the following rules will result in a complete forfeit of a spot in the signing and event, and there will be no refunds for any reason.

This has been plain as day and clear as crystal for over 8 months. That someone would try to flout that, and attempt to think it would work? Yeah no. So let’s go into excuses.

This year, we had several people that had delayed flights, or extenuating circumstances. ALL OF THEM contacted either MYSELF or the staff. All of them were handled appropriately by the staff, as we know things get in the way.

I was given several excuses by the author that didn’t get to sign including that she was “looking for a parking space” and “Driving around for a while because Valet wouldn’t let her park” around “4pm” on FRIDAY. She also claimed that when she got in at 6 no one was in the room (which is a lie, as My staff were all there till almost 715 wrangling people and putting people’s books in the office to lock up). Apparently the 17 emails I had sent out via the ticket page never reached her, and she couldn’t navigate the Author group that clearly stated that ALL AUTHORS must be registered and IN THEIR SEATS on Friday by 245pm. And while some authors decided NOT to do the VIP preview, THEY WERE REGISTERED already by that point.  So the information has been out there A MONTH before this event even happened, and Every other author there had gotten the memo and followed the rules.

Then, I was treated to having to explain to a gentleman she thought that me talking with would make me give her her way. I was told by said gentleman that he was still on the phone with the author at 245pm on Friday. To which I stated, it was moot as she was 100% in the wrong.

See, I have rules for the event, and it’s very much a live by the sword, die by the sword thing with me. I do not negotiate with terrorists, and I certainly do NOT give in for someone that cannot follow very well displayed and simple rules. I’m a BIG fan of fair, and it’s not fair to let someone in when they can’t bother to follow the rules. So I stick by my guns. NO ONE will intimidate me because I will NOT be bullied into anything. And anyone that thinks to try is a god damn moron. Yes, I said it.

So let’s talk about rules… because I also understand that there’s some other authors that jumped on this band wagon to start a shit show at an event they should have been FOCUSING ON READERS AT instead of stirring a pot and creating drama.

I was accused of being unprofessional, of cursing at people and saying “Fuck” a lot. Yes. 100% true. That’s WHO I am. And I’m going to be candid here, IM NOT HERE TO KISS YOUR ASS, or BE YOUR FRIEND. I run an event you agreed to be at and agreed to follow the rules of. In corporate America people don’t like other people they work with all the time, hell 80% of the work force HATES their boss. But they DO their jobs because they are professionals. It’s no less than what I ask at my events. As a PROFESSIONAL AUTHOR you have one job: Sell yourself to the readers. As a professional AUTHOR I have the same job. As I don’t get PAID to put events on, (IE, I don’t make a dime for the 50+ hours a week I put into getting the event together, Taking time away from my CAREER and my family to make a fair and affordable event for people) and I largely end up paying out of pocket for the event at the end of the day NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO DICTATE TO ME HOW I ACT. That’s why I have staff. You don’t want to deal with me and my “foul mouth”? Do your job, follow the rules and if you have issues, deal with my staff.

It’s when people think they can get over on my STAFF and my con family that the fangs come out. So, now that that’s all explained… Let’s talk about AUTHOR PROFESSIONALISM and PROFESSIONAL COURTESY.

It’s PROFESSIONAL COURTESY to ASK another event if you are ABLE to promote YOURS when you are at the event. A simple “Hey I have cards for my con, can I put them at registration or maybe pass them out?” would have been all that was needed for THAT little Fiasco to have never have happened. And just so everyone jumping on the injustice of my staff collecting them is aware, it was Bloggers, Readers AND Authors that thought it was in poor taste. In fact, several came to me and ask if the person passing them out had gotten permission, because they saw it as “Tacky” (their words not mine).

It’s not PROFESSIONAL to start shit at ANY event, latching onto an author YOU feel was dealt a bum hand (All because they didn’t follow the rules) and start sabotaging the event by posting pictures showing a “Dead” event that were CLEARLY taken from YOUR TABLE. The Staff and the other authors you disrespected KNOW it was you because YOUR BOOKS WERE SHOWING in the picture. If that’s not the goddamn MEANING of the statement “you’re not professional” I don’t know what is. Causing drama for no reason when the event and the con director and staff have been nothing but nice to you is not only unprofessional, but stupid as well. All that proves to everyone is the bottom line of an event (in this case “READERS BEING HAPPY”) is lost on you. That the authors posting to sabotage an event would do that tells me they aren’t professionals, and they don’t give a rats tinkered ass about the damage they caused the AUTHORS in attendance.

Lastly, it’s EXTREMELY unprofessional to NOT honor your word when making appointments. We had an author completely ditch on one of our tattoo artists at an 11pm appointment. The artist not only wasted his time waiting, but also wasted the opportunity to rebook. And the person in question never contacted him or the tattoo assistant past the “Ok we will see you at 11pm” text they got when they tried to move the appointment up. This cost our tattoo artist, who we at AAD and TNEE consider family, MONEY. This could have all been avoided if they just honored their appointment. I had to ban said person from ever getting a tattoo from the guys ever again. Costing my artists money when they come from NY for these events is NOT cool, especially when you confirmed. You NEVER harm my con family when they are there to give YOU opportunities.

So I also know what’s being said about me online. And while that’s a person’s prerogative to have their opinions, I firmly believe opinions should be based on FACTS, not here say spouted by authors that I was “mean” to (IE: I told them NO several times) or that didn’t like how I handled things (Because it didn’t benefit them directly.)

What I find absolutely appalling is that a person that is old enough to be my grandmother is out there spouting lies and bullshit about ME and MY EVENTS when she’s never EVER spoken to me. You know, people throw around the word “Bully” a lot, but really that’s all this is. I have been around for 8 years doing events, and it’s NOW she decides to start a smear campaign on a person and an event that is focused on being affordable, and fair, while the person running it makes no money, only a FUCK TON of grief from people for trying to remain fair. Attacking me personally when they have never met me or spoken to me is completely insane. Why am I and my events suddenly a threat to you? There are plenty of authors out there, and MY events give the ones that don’t have other options and other opportunities the ability to get in front of readers, readers that are looking for them. FACT.

 I don’t think people really get that there’s ROOM in this industry for most events, and enough authors to fill them if the price and opportunity is right. Because I don’t get paid and I’m NOT LOOKING TO MAKE MONEY OFF ANYONE I can offer the cheaper prices and freebies for readers, and authors can utilize what we offer. Or not. But there’s is NO REASON to go around trying to fuck other people’s stuff up because you are having issues. What I do with my events is offer alternatives that authors and readers seem to like. If that’s what’s bothering you, maybe you should take a look at what YOU are doing and restructure, because all of this catty bullshit is making you look like a heel.

I honestly thought we had all moved past the high school bullshit, but as a lovely author told me this weekend “When you put two women in a room there’s always going to be drama.” Well multiply that by infinity and that’s the industry these days.

Look, I care about the readers LOOKING TO READ ME. ALL Authors should be that focused. Don’t sweat the bad reviews; brush it off because you obviously don’t write for that person. Don’t start drama because READERS see that and readers remember. Don’t talk smack because readers see that and readers remember.  I think authors forget that events are not about THEM. The staff and the promoters don’t do this to lick your ass. They do it so the READERS are happy and they keep buying books… without readers WE WOULD ALL BE OUT OF A JOB. I think a lot of authors forget that.

It’s for those reasons that I don’t give a fig about an authors personal BS. You paid to be at an event, be there, sell yourself to readers. Gain new readers, cement relationships with old ones, sell books. But keep yourself out of the drama. I don’t care about you or your petty bullshit. What I DO care about is hearing from readers that YOU were awesome, and better in person than they could ever have hoped for, and that YOU have gained a reader for life. SERIOUSLY. That’s really all I care about. And anyone that tells me or SAYS that I’m unprofessional for not giving a shit about the author needs to REALLY think about that. It boils down to this: the AUTHORS don’t pay my bills. They aren’t paying for ME to attend events, and they aren’t PUSHING MY BOOKS. READERS do that. And those are the people I care about.

And for you out there saying “Well you went off on a reader at TNEE”…

No. I went off on a person that was supposed to be another author’s assistant. That didn’t DO HER JOB. That stirred the pot,  that got all agro and expecting me to… fuck I don’t know what they expected. They weren’t MY reader, and said to the author THEY were working with (that they didn’t do shit with because they were always with the drama makers) that she didn’t read her “Shit” and she didn’t care… Which upset the author a lot because she took a chance on bringing this person in the help her. And notice, said “reader” came at me with the grievances aired above, but the authors didn’t. Funny right?

So yes, I will go off on someone that has an agenda. I always will. Because I don’t deal with bullshit.

Love it, or hate it, it’s me. You don’t like it, don’t attend my events. If you know you can act like an adult, realize that this is a goddamn business and the focus of your business should ALWAYS be the reader? I want you at my events; because the readers know what side their bread is buttered on… I can’t promise I will always handle everything with no curse words or calling people out for being assholes and not following the rules, but you will know that Readers remember the authors that care about THEM, and that show it.

So I’m sure this is going to get TONS of comments, but let me be the first to tell you--- EVERYTHING HERE IS THE GODDAMN TRUTH. YOU CAN’T ARGUE THE TRUTH SO DON’T TRY. ADMIT WHEN YOU ARE WRONG. It goes a LONG WAY.

And as always I’m open to rational discussion, and debate, but facts are facts people… and attacking ME personally is just going to get yourself banned from anything I do. Because it’s not ever about ME, fuck I LOST SALES this weekend because I couldn’t be at my table because I was dealing with everything else. You bring ME into it, it’s a banned guarantee.

And to those of you that understand that this isn’t MY way of thinking, it is a rational way of thinking… well thank you and your input is always welcome.

16 comments:

Jenny Trout said...

If 100+ authors could read and understand the rules, and 2-3 could not, I think that really says it all.

Bianca Sommerland said...

The drama I'm seeing lately is getting out of hand. I saw a lot of this, and it was stressful, but what I'm happy about is that my readers didn't have to deal with it. They enjoyed the event and had a great time at the signing and that's all that matters.

As I've said before, different people have different experiences at events. After having gone to as many as I have, I've learned to make the most of the ones I attend. I love AAD and TNEE because you don't see the cliquish behavior you find at other events. Everyone is inclusive and friendly and that makes it easier for readers to get to know their favorite authors (and some new ones) on another level. Which is the whole POINT of going to these events.

I'm sorry for anyone who didn't enjoy the event. It sucks when that happens. Hopefully, future events will go better for them, whatever the reasons that made this one difficult. The focus always needs to be on the readers though.

At the end of the day, what I can't get over was the pointless attack on the event during the signing. I STILL feel sick to my stomach just thinking about it. Sitting at my table, signing books (And I sold many at both the VIP signing and the public one) and hearing the chatter about what was being said online?

I have no words. I can't wrap my head around the motives, and I've decided to give up trying. The readers were having fun. I gave as much as my time as possible to help make that happen.

And now I'm gonna get back to writing books and preparing for my next event. With a smile on my lips as I think back on what a wonderful experience I had at this one. For which, I thank the organizers, staff, and other authors who selfishly put time in to make this happen, <3

LilyAnn Johnson said...

Rules are rules... Personally I need rules as I need order. (It shows me where the lines are and keeps things simple).

Which is why I love your events because even when I attended as a reader and now author there were rules.

I was talking and not paying attention to the time and was going to be late to my table and you walked by scolding me... Did I get pissed... No... I said sorry and hurried my happy little ass to my table. Because there are rules and I wasn't following them at that time.

I had great time at event... I did damn well for a new author and your staff was nothing but nice and professional to me. I will be proud to work with you and your team again... because you keep it real, don't blow smoke up anyone's ass and I personally love and respect that.

Alan Morgan said...

I'm sorry, but I think this entire post is unprofessional. As have many of your posts in the past. Actually, that was why I unfriended you on facebook, is because I got tired of seeing you post rants about people that didn't follow the rules at your events.

You may be an event coordinator, but last I checked, you were still an author. You say your job as an author-- that everyone who is an author shares this job-- is to sell yourself.

Damn fine way you're going about it here.

Tilly Greene said...

Rules, they are well thought out, posted in multiple places, and all but 2-3 authors followed them ... be professional and read the rules before signing up! Follow them! Talk and ask questions well before hand!

Don't blame others for your lack of due diligence!

Don't blame others because you don't act in a professional manner!

Don't blame others because you didn't follow the rules!

Don't blame others ... take responsibility for your actions or lack of!

You handled the situation Stella, you've now written a blog ... the hoopla is someone's making and not worth anymore of your time or energy.

Robie DeWitt said...

Stella you work very hard to put on an event and do a great job with it. I've only been to one of your events bu that's enough to know how YOU do things.

I am going to play devil's advocate here: Say you had space for 100 authors for an event. 100 agree to sign up for an event and then for whatever reason 10 of them back out and never bother to notify anyone. This leaves you with 10 empty spaces could have have been possibly opened up to 10 other authors who might have wanted to attend but were late getting their information in.

You had very thought out guidelines set up in advance to give he authors guidance as to how he schedule would work. I am sure when you confirmed your author, you spelled out the quielines again.

Now here comes me, a fairly newbee to these events. I am so excited to come and meet authors A,B,C and D. The first 3 are there but the fourth one can not be found. When I ask someone where they are, I am told she never showed up. Now as a reader I am very disappointed that this happened and I am upset . Do I get mad at the event who didn't know until too late that the author was not following the set upon guidelines by not showing up or not showing up at the designated time. or the author who wanted to be a Prima Donna and felt those RULES WERE FOR OTHERS and she could do as she wants. Now I do know how to put on an event and it takes alot of behind the scenes planning to make sure there are enough tables and chairs set up for everyone to have a space. when someone shows up late and say I only need a little space actually means I am taking as much as I can.

Now here comes Ms Stella on a very deserved rampage. She and her staff have been made out to be the bad guys. The event which should a fun time for all is soured by the actions of people who want to catered to. The authors who did comply are upset because they followed the rules and are getting grief for doing what they asked to do. These events should be fun from Stella and staff to all the authors as well as us readers who come to meet the authors and hang out for the day.
I have only met Stella once and it was very brief, I doubt she know who I am so I a not writing this at her request.
I just want to attend a well run event where the event planner is relaxed and ready for a good show, i don't want one where the planner is stressed out due to someone else's ignorance.
Sorry for the rant Stella but I agree with you 100%.

BC&W said...

It really isn't that big of a deal. How do you not know that this person had some personal issues going on maybe has social Anxiety, or maybe an emergency popped up but you're the first person to point fingers like they're a piece of shit.
All I see in this post is rules are rules,rules,rules treating these authors like there some damn seven-year-olds. If you want respect you need to earn respect. And from the sounds of it you don't have any type of people skills and need to find a new type of job. If you're losing money at the events stop doing them but to come on here and start pointing fingers and acting as your innocent makes you look like a dumbass. Your not a damn foreman... It's an author event, which is suppose to be fun...

Kimberly said...

Stella, I agree with you 100%. I don't know this author and I didn't read everything you wrote here bc I don't need to. This is what we've been learning since grade school and every aspect of adult life. This shit is not new. There are rules you need to abide by or guess what? You lose out. Be a fucking adult. It's her own fault that she lost money. The rules were clearly laid out and if she couldn't abide by them or understand them, she should have contacted someone. The End. No Excuses. - KB

BTW - I like rules. :-) I can't believe she tried to roll up in there at the 11th hour and expect everything to be okay. SMDH.

Jennifer Wedmore said...

I was not able to attend TNEE but I think Stella is amazing. I wish everyone told it like it was. Who cares you swear and use the F word. It has no bearing on being an author! The other Con director was wrong and was slammed last year for bad treatment of Indie authors so, who is she to criticize and cause trouble! You have to have rules at conventions, otherwise nothing gets done! Props to you and your staff for your amazing work each time! I look forward to another great convention in August. My friends (authors and readers) have a blast at TNEE and raved over the event! Great job!

Lisa said...

Did you read it at all?

Vettech said...

You need to have rules or you have chaos and pandemonium. Some of these authors are acting like children instead of adults!

Vettech said...

I am a reader and was at this event. I love Stella's events. I had a front row seat to this "assistant" to the author in question......Bravo to Stella for standing her ground. Rules are a part of life, there are rules for everything in life for a reason. We can't have everyone doing as they please, because they feel they are better than everyone else and shouldn't have to follow any rules. Shame on all the authors that were a part of this drama.....you are cutting your own throats by not following the rules and lose any credibility you did have.

Cat Grant said...

If you want to see a bully, Stella, maybe you should look in the mirror.

Christina Smith said...

The rules were very clearly stated, otherwise how would all but 2 or 3 do what was asked? As an author it is you're responsibility to make sure you follow them. It's your job to promote yourself, not the con's job.

I thought it was petty for another con to try and bash TNEE. Do you have so little going on in your life that you feel the need to try and sabotage someone else's work? And not just the TNEE itself, but all the authors in attendance as well? There is no excuse for that kind of despicable and childish behavior. And shame on those who were taking and sending pics of the event for the sole purpose of bashing it and spreading lies about it. That was in poor taste, especially taking them at a certain angle to look like there was no one was there. They were there, I know because I was there myself. And for another con director to blatantly post LIES about TNEE is horrible. If you feel that threatened then seek therapy because it sounds like you're the one with the problem.

I've been to quite a few of Stella's events and loved every one of them. I found the authors there to be approachable and nice. And some have become very good friends, and it is all thanks to Stella.

Tricia said...

I won't speak to the drama part of this. I have no horse in that race and don't want to be involved in any of it. I don't know what was said or by whom.

As a wholly unbiased participant, I will state for the benefit of those considering this event in the future that it was woefully unattended. Reports of it being 'dead' are accurate, much to my dismay. I was hoping this would be a homerun because it's convenient for me to attend and I'm always looking for a great event. But the bodies simply weren't there. As an example, a popular author beside me, who'd prepared very nice gift bags to hand out to the first 100 readers to visit her table was only able to hand out about 30 bags. This was true of another author who was giving out smaller freebies. Authors and their assistants outnumbered readers by a margin of at least 5 to 1.

I'm not sure why this happened. Not enough advertising? The Easter holiday weekend? Everyone's tables looked great so it was a real shame. As I said, I was extremely disappointed and it's taken me a few days to get over it. I can't begin to imagine how an author who flew to this event, booked a hotel room, shipped books, and prepared freebies much feel. Though I met some great new authors and a few readers, the cost of new reader acquisition was far too high.

Again, I'm not interested in the drama side of this and I have no interest in who's right or wrong. Purely from a business standpoint, this con was a bust. It happens. Sometimes it's beyond a director's control. However, it's unfair to mislead future participants who might be prepared to outlay large sums of money by misrepresenting this con as anything other than what it was. I hope my comments are reasonable.

Ena Amanda said...

First off I must say that being someone in the industry that holds events that bring authors and readers together how can you say you don't care about the author or their needs? You should care about both sides. If you think about it the authors attending these events are what brings readers to them so yes it's very important to care about the author. If you don't than I don't see any point in you being a coordinator. Secondly, and the director/coordinator whatever you should have spoken with EVERY author that paid to be at your event. I know You have staff but it's your event. How could you not want to go around and make sure everyone readers and authors alike are taken care of. I won't comment on what happened or didn't happen because as you said there are 2 sides to every story and we honestly don't know exactly what happened because I wasn't there. But just reading your post the language itself was very unprofessional and in my opinion doesn't paint a good picture of you.